Monday, November 29, 2010

Is there a censorship double-standard at YU?

Who exactly is unwelcome here?
The Jewish Star is reporting that an 4-person "Censorship Committee" at YU has prevented Rabbi Ethan Tucker from appearing on campus at the invitation of a student group called TEIQU. Rabbi Tucker is the head of Machoin Hador, a yeshiva described as "egalitarian".

According to A Pashut Old City Yid, a blog run by a YU graduate, and not as the blog name implies, a Yerushalmy Hasid, the Committee explained its decision in an email:
“YU, as a matter of generally accepted policy and tradition, will not have a speaker come to campus who is outside the mainstream of Centrist Orthodox Judaism to discuss any matter relating to halacha or hashkafah."
I don't know if a University should ever be banning speakers from its campus, but let's stipulate for a moment that YU is entitled to enforce this policy. The question then becomes, "Is the policy evenly enforced?" If YU bans speakers like Rabbi Tucker, will it also ban R. Ovadya Yosef? Only a few months ago, the head of Shas said "Non-Jews were born to serve Jews" As this view is certainly "outside the mainstream of centrist Orthodoxy" does it follow that Ovadya Yosef is no longer welcome on the YU campus? What about Yair Hoffman? Last week, he wrote an article arguing that Rishonim he didn't study as a child should not be taught to Yeshiva Bochrim -- and he took a nasty swipe at YU in passing. Surely, this is "outside the mainstream of centrist Orthodoxy", but somehow I don't think the Censorship Committee is likely to restrict him from appearing at the school.


UPDATE: I'm making a list of speakers the Censorship Committee should ban if they wish to appear consistent. Your contributions welcome.

Search for more information about speakers YU should ban at

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